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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

I20                            THE GAY GENIUS

when they were walking together in the country and discussing the
political condition of the country, Tseyu gave his elder brother a piece
of advice. Su Tungpo's one great fault was his habit of always speak-
ing his mind before guests or in writing. The times were bad, and
Tseyu knew his brother all too well. As he did later after Tungpo's
release from confinement, Tseyu put his hand across his mouth, whiclf
was to tell him to keep still henceforth.

The two brothers were different in temperament and appearance.
Tseyu was taller, and had a plumper, rounder face, with plenty of loose
flesh round his cheeks, while Su Tungpo had a more muscular build,
with the right proportion of bone and muscle. As far as we can judge
from his portraits, he was about five feet seven or eight, had a big face
with very prominent cheekbones and an imposing forehead, extremely
long, brilliant eyes, a well-proportioned chin, and a beautiful, tapering^
long, mandarin beard. The most revealing was his sensitive, mobllej
full-powered lips. It was a face which flashed and glowed with human!
warmth, quickly changing its expression from hearty fun to a pensive
look of thought-drunk fantasy.

"I know," said Su Tungpo to his brother, "that I am always careless of
my speech. When I feel something is wrong, it is like finding a fly in
my food, and I just have to spit it out."

"But you've got to know the people you are talking to," said his
brother. "Some people you can trust, and some you cannot.'1

"That's my weakness," Su Tungpo agreed. "Perhaps I am too con-
fiding in nature. Regardless of whomever I am talking with, I like toj
unburden my whole inside."                                                          ^m

He told his brother that when he had sent the letter to the Emperor,
he was truly afraid for his life. One of his friends, he said, was also
worried. This was Chao Tuanyen,* who had come to visit him, and
who, having passed the examinations in the same year with him, was
often referred to as of the "same class", in the same sense as modern
college graduates of the same year.

"But I told Chao I had passed the special examination under Emperor
Jentsung," Su Tungpo went on, "and that I was at once regarded by the
high officials as a friend. And the Emperor had accepted my advice. If
I did aot speak up now, who would ? I told Chao that what I was re
afraid of was that I might be killed. Chao remained silent and
very grave. Then I said to him: 'It's all right. If the Emperor wanl
to kill me, I shall take it without regret. But there's one thing, I don't
want to give you the pleasure of seeing me dead.' And we both
laughed."

**Do you know something?" said the younger brother. "Do you notice
tfeat when one has a day of leisure, it seems twice as long as other days ?

* Father oTChao Pucluh., who became Tungpo's disciple.                              '